Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

Ghadan 21: first look at Abu Dhabi's Dh8 billion plan for public spaces and parks

Thriving community areas, regenerated streets and a city-wide cycle network are all part of the capital's development project

Abu Dhabi will spend Dh8 billion on transforming its public places and parks into community spaces for all residents.

From water features and community ponds to playgrounds for children, more than 300 small and large-scale projects will be undertaken in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

Four 'signature parks' will be established and a further 16 existing ones will be regenerated. Changes will be made to waterfront areas and to unlock 'hidden nature sites'.

Contracts have already been awarded to international consultancies to modernise Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street and Hamdan Street – two of the city's main thoroughfares.

The plan set out by the Department of Municipalities and Transport on Wednesday is part of the Ghadan 21 programme to boost the emirate's liveability by 2021.

“We aim to create more opportunities for community members to better engage with one another and interact with their environment,” said Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of the department.

“We are excited to showcase the first phase of the initiative.”

The works “will focus on enhancing the vibrancy of the city of Abu Dhabi through the addition of creative, colourful artworks, activating existing and new public spaces and providing a network for active recreation," he said.

“Community members can start to experience and enjoy a variety of developments from the first quarter of 2020 when some of the smaller enhancements will be completed.

"DMT will be providing the community with newly accessible and enhanced nature sites, as well as innovative solutions to ensure that individuals can remain active, even during the warmer summer months."

Residents of Al Ain and Al Dhafra regions can expect to see a diverse set of enhancements to their communities.

Al Ain, Madinat Zayed, Mirfa, Sila and Delma are some of the locations identified for investment.

Works for Abu Dhabi will follow three themes: For Exploring; For Interacting and For Relaxing.

Residents of the capital said they look forward to the developments - and hope to see more.

Nicasius Nkengbaze, 33, from Cameroon, said Abu Dhabi has an abundance of space to open up to the public on and off-island.

He also said the project is an opportunity to bring vegetation more communities, making they more attractive to walk and cycle in.

"Like if you walk from Mussaffah to Bani Yas, all you see is desert," he said.

"Abu Dhabi has a lot of space and investing in its nature the right way will make it very pleasant."

Saleh Al Sadeq, 32, an IT worker from Jordan, said he hopes the initiative will bring out many places that "nobody thinks of visiting" .

"For instance, the Ghuweifat road which leads to the Saudi border, there are small islands off that road that could be brought to life.

"Everybody likes to visit Sir Bani Yas because it's an exotic desert island, but there are other desert islands that are much closer that people could start visiting."

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Updated: December 18, 2019 03:54 PM

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